Jason Mraz + Two Spot Gobi + Marit Larsen @ Birmingham Academy – 7th April 2009


The night got off to a chilled out start, with the first of the support artists, Marit Larsen. With sounds reminiscent of Lena Marlin, the Norwegian captured the audience bringing a poppy take on the nu-folk genre, alongside an entourage of very talented musicians.


Two Spot Gobi warmed the crowd up with their take on ska/funk. Clearly drawing inspiration from The Police, the band got the audience moving, paving the way for what promised to be an exciting evening.


Having not heard much about Jason Mraz, I tried to pick up a feel of his music from the die-hard fans in the huge queue outside the venue. The glowing praise was backed up by the infectious enthusiasm and anticipation before Mraz eventually took to the stage. But a somewhat overblown stage entrance piece soon settled the crowd down and let everyone get their camera phones ready. This set the tone for the majority of the evening, where the adoring fans stood as still as possible, trying to get a steady video of their hero.


The overall stillness of the crowd turned out to be quite disappointing and lacking in atmosphere. A few songs opened with lively intros that started the crowd moving, but this stopped whenever Mraz sang.

The night did have some good sing-a-long tunes, a noticeable one being ‘Lucky’, a duet performed with the support act, Marit Larsen taking the place of Colbie Caillat, who performs the song on Mraz’s album ‘We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.’

Halfway through the gig, Mraz’s quick paced ‘The Dynamo of Volition’ finally thawed the audience, and they in turn began to move. This was quite short lived however, and the crowd soon returned to standing still and singing along.


The Californian has a lot of ballads in his repertoire, the best of which being ‘I’m Yours’; a real crowd pleaser, as it is an upbeat song. Mraz quickly followed this with some great audience participation, before launching straight into a cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’, which suits Mraz’s style down to a tee, and which was clearly enjoyed by everyone.


Overall, Mraz’s music was chilled, laid-back and, on the whole, enjoyable. Mraz clearly has a strong and dedicated fan base, who are willing to stand for hours to sing along to his music. Personally I would enjoy hearing Mraz’s music again, but I feel it is better suited to laid back venue where people can sit and enjoy the music with a few friends and drinks. Mraz’s music would be brilliant at a summer festival or a jazz bar, as opposed to the typically rock venue of the Academy.


Reviewer – Nessie Austin
Photographer – Michelle Ballard

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